Stay at Home Mommy – Finding my THING.

I love to stay at home with my kids. No really. I’ve never really enjoyed going off to work or school much. I’d rather stay at home all day (more or less) even before I had kids.

But after we got married, there was a summer that I didn’t work much and I stayed home all the time because we didn’t have very much money. I just about went out of my mind with boredom. I tried to volunteer at the library or crafty handy work, but really we didn’t have the money for gas or the money for crafty hand work supplies. I ended up staying at home a lot watching Netflix on a really bad internet connection, with very little contact with the outside world.

It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have any kind of outside work, school or family to keep me busy. My husband was out of town a bunch that summer so I was left to my own devices.

Finally I had the time and no excuses to write. Something I had wanted to do since I was a kid. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t write. Actually looking back I might have been depressed. It was the first summer after we had gotten married and I had been so focused on getting married for such a long time that when I finally did achieve that goal, I wasn’t sure what to do next.

I lost myself. (But my sweet hubby put up with me anyway)

That was only for a couple of months, then we were back to school so Hubby could finish his last year. I did much better back at my job and even working full time.

Then I had our first child. Then followed 18 months of post-baby depression. I had anxiety over everything. My weight (I think I might have been border line anorexic, but I could be off my rocker), my baby, my job, my marriage everything was sucked into the depression and anxiety. I remember having panic attacks at the thought of taking the garbage out. I was angry all the time and when I wasn’t angry I was stressed out.

We finally discovered that it had to do with a birth control I started taking after I had Baby #1. I still remember the day that I stopped taking that medication and I laughed at something my hubby said. Just chilling and joking around with him. For the first time IN ALMOST TWO YEARS. And we had only been married for three. It still makes me cry a little to think about it.

That was under control, and we also discovered that I have anxiety problems when I am pregnant. (Really, karma?)

Finally, FINALLY my baby #2 is big enough that I don’t have to jump up and get him for every snort and whistle.

And I am right back where I was the summer after we got married (minus the depression).

What do I do NOW?

I love my kids, but I am not a naturally nurturing parent. I do my best to teach them and help them grow and become responsible little kids, but it doesn’t really interest me. I know some mothers who LOVE working with kids, especially their own, but I don’t. The 4 year old STILL won’t poop in the toilet. And I’m still worried about #2’s lack of words….

Does that make me a bad mom? I don’t really think so. It just isn’t my THING.

(Don’t worry, I don’t neglect my children, they are happy, healthy and we play together all the time)

I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve tried lots of different things. I do like geneology, sewing, crafty stuff, cooking (really like food), but I’ve never had THING that I do.

Like I have friends that are writers (actually most of my friends are writers) friends who are crafters, friends who are sewers, friends who are cooks, friends who are bloggers etc.

Now maybe you don’t HAVE to have a THING. But if I don’t have something I am passionate about, I feel, well, lost. Lacking purpose, maybe? Does anyone else feel that way?

A friend of mine recently mentioned that she has been writing a novel. We are both interested in the same kinds of fiction (YA Fantasy/SciFi) and have been swapping books back and forth for a while. She asked me what I’ve been writing lately, and I found myself making excuses. Lots of excuses. I said I wasn’t a very good writer, and that I haven’t been able to finish any novels, ever.

It made me think. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Always. Ever since I read Beauty by Robin McKinley. And Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. And Harry Potter, oh definatley Harry Potter.

I have always made up stories in my head, the only time I haven’t is when I was the most depressed.

Fear. That summer that I had nothing to do, I couldn’t write. I was afraid that I would fail. I couldn’t fail. I couldn’t.

Now, after going through having two kids and 5 1/2 years of marriage, I have learned that you don’t always getting things done the right way the first time. You have to try and try again. Sometimes you are going to mess up. Hugely, dramatically, and you have to hand out apologies to everyone you’ve ever met.

So I bought a keyboard for my tablet and started writing again. Just for an hour or so every morning. We’ll see. Maybe this is my THING. I’m determined to at least FINISH my novel, even if I never get much further than that. I’m not really looking for a revenue source, just an outlet for my creativity. For now.

It was easier than I remember. That was the funny part. I remember being so frustrated that it wasn’t perfect the first time I wrote it, but now it just seems to be rough, but I know I can go back and edit. I’m surprised how much easier it is to consider what my characters would say and questions they would ask. It will be interesting.

Do you have a THING? Do you think you need a THING, or is your job/kids/family fulfilling enough? I’m interested!

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Light up shoes. He was THRILLED. In my defense, they were only 10 bucks at Shopko, or I never would have bought them.

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Heat Wave

I’m supposed to get up at 6 and write for an hour before doing my morning workout all before my kids get up.

Yeah right.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning and messed around on Facebook/Instagram/twitter for about an hour. I’m kind of embarassed about this, but I didn’t look at any of those sites yesterday.

I’m blaming this all on the heat wave. It has been excrutiatingly hot and hazy around Montana what with all the fires. We live in a valley, so whenever smoke comes from Washington state, Oregon, even California it filters through our valley. Not to mention if any fires start around the valley.

Two years ago it was smokey (like standing next to a campfire smokey) for almost TWO MONTHS. I was pregnant with #2 so we hunkered down in our closed up house. That was worst its ever been. Usually we just have haze for a few days then it clears up for a few days before we get some more haze. All dependent on the wildfires, but we almost always have wildfires anymore.

Because of all the heat and the haze I have a personal goal not to turn on my oven. I even bought bread yesterday. AND hamburger buns. Did I mention that we don’t have A/C? Very few people do around here. Mostly because you only really need it for two MAYBE two and a half months. July-August.

I also had a goal not to turn on the dryer until October, but I failed on that one. When you have to do 4 or 5 loads in a day, it just won’t all fit on your clothsline.

We’ve been eating a lot of salads and things you can cook on the stove top. Or grill. Did you know you can grill potatoes? And zucchini? And pizza? I’ve heard you can do bread on the grill, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Here is my recipe for Grilled Potatoes and Zucchini:

3 medium sized potatoes (diced)
2 small (ish) zucchinis, diced- just not those giaganormous ones your neighbor always gives you that are the size of a baseball bat. You can use those ones, just use half of one, instead of two.
1 TBS Beef bullion
1 tsp Garlic powder
1tsp Onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough oil to coat veggies
(For the seasoning, you can also just use a pack of onion soup mix or ranch dressing mix. I hardly ever have those around so this is what I use)
Aluminum foil (I always pronouce this the British way in my head – AL-OO-MIN-EE-UM, true story)

Put all ingredients in a bowl or zip-loc bag and mix to combine. You really need enough oil to coat the veggies or it will stick to the aluminum foil and burn. Adjust spices as necessary (like if you think you need more, add more, etc)

Make a packet out of your tin foil, but make sure there is AT LEAST a double layer on the bottom of the packet. Or it will burn. Use your judgement here, you might need to make two packets if one will be too big to get on your grill.

Fire up your grill to medium low heat. You don’t want it to be blazing hot or you will end up with burned, undercooked potatoes. Put your packet of veggies on the grill and let cook for about 20 minutes. Check on them and move them around a bit to make sure all sides are getting nice and crispy. To test if they are done, stick a fork in a large chunk of potatoes. If it goes in easily then it is done. Otherwise, let cook for 10 more mins, or until done.

You can also add broccoli or mushrooms or what ever veg sounds good to you. Cauliflower is also a tasty addition!

During the winter, you can make this in your oven: 425 degrees, about 30 minutes. Just use one of those rimmed baking sheets instead of aluminum foil.

This is one of our favorite sides. My mom made up the recipe, because she has Celiac and couldn’t eat the onion soup mix packs from the store. I think it tastes WAAAAAAAAAY better than using those nasty onion soup mix packs…But I really don’t like those.

Why MUST you all be so ANNOYING!!! Confessions of PMS.

We are all exhausted today.

We spent Saturday going all over town looking at new appliances. Then we spent the rest of the time at home hashing out all of our options.

Our conversations went something like this: “Well, we can get that fridge cheaper at Sears” “But Lowes had a better protection plan, and according to all those Amazon review, we are GOING to need a protection plan…” “But its cheaper at Sears. Or Best Buy” “Yea, but their protection plans are either $500 or they suck.”

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

I hate over thinking things. Every time I thought a decision had been made, hubby brought up a new alternative to consider (This is just how he works…Normally I appreciate this because he usually has all the information in front of him, but this time I just wanted to buy the *&#@ fridge). By the time we actually bought the appliances yesterday I was ready to tear my hair out. It didn’t help that on Sunday night we discovered that our garbage disposal was leaking and we now had to find a new one.

Another decision we have to make?? NOOOOO!!!!

The blessing was that we had enough left over from our tax return to pay for everything. Thank you!

But I’m really cranky and tired today.

I think there is another reason for that:

P. M. S. 

I hate this time of the month. Usually I am very level headed, able to handle most things, but this time of the month I turn into a really mean, anxious, b*#^%. And the profanity isn’t going too far.

My sweet husband finally caved a few months ago. He finally said, “Honey, I can’t handle your PMS anymore”, but in a more tactful, kind way.

I’ll be honest. At first I was hurt. I had been working hard to do better and I thought I had been better. But Hubby felt strongly enough to say something.

So instead of getting mad or yelling at him, I just thought over what he had said. And I realized something. My hubby isn’t one of those overbearing, insensitive men that you see on TV or in the media.

He is a kind, gentle, sensitive person and he can put up with a LOT of crap from me with out complaining. That he actually said something made me realize that it wasn’t a snap decision on his part or a complaint. It was simply an observation that I wasn’t myself (AT ALL) during that specific time of month and that he had been giving it a LOT of thought for a LONG time.

The thing that struck me the most was that he was mostly worried about my well being. And the kids. When I am PMSing I kind of hate myself and I lash out and blame everyone around me. I sink into a hole and bite any hand that tries to help me. And it takes me an extra week or so to pull myself out of this funk. Okay, two weeks a MONTH that I am non-functional? Even when I am trying to fight it? NOPE.

I ended up talking to my OBGYN and getting a very mild anti-depressant. I only take it the week of the madness and I have notice that it helps. I only take a minimal dose, so I still get grouchy, but I can reason though it instead of succumbing to wallowing in self-loathing and anger.

My hubby loves me and he just wants me to be happy. Because I am at home with the kids all day and everyone needs my attention almost all the time it is hard to remember that my Hubby sometimes suggests things to make my life easier, not harder. And usually he is right. 🙂